Community Dental Service
The Community Dental Service is a group of dental practitioners providing a wide range of specialist dental services in health centres and hospitals to people with Special Care Needs.
Special Care Dentistry is concerned with providing and enabling the delivery of oral care for people with an impairment or disability, where this terminology is defined in the broadest of terms. Special Care Dentistry is concerned with: ‘The improvement of oral health of individuals and groups in society who have a physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, medical, emotional or social impairment or disability or, more often, a combination of a number of these factors’.
It is defined by a diverse client-group with a range of disabilities and complex additional needs and includes people living at home, in long stay residential care and secure units, as well as homeless people.
This is a referral only service for patients whose dental care cannot be provided in general dental practice. People who wish to use this service will need a referral from a General Dental practitioner or other Health and Social Care Practitioner. All referrals are assessed to ensure that they meet the requirements for provision of care within the Specialist Services provided.
Community based dental services
We provide a range of dental services including dental care with inhalation sedation (twilight sleep / gas and air), oral assessment service for residents of nursing and residential homes and a domiciliary service (home visits) for those people unable to travel to a clinic or hospital setting.
As well as treatment services we provide targeted oral health improvement programmes for young children and adults with special needs.
Hospital based dental services
We also provide more specialised dental services in Antrim and Causeway hospitals in outpatients departments and in day procedure and day surgery units. This is a referral only service and is available for people with multiple complex medical conditions / special needs.
Dental treatment is also provided under general anaesthetic for young children requiring multiple dental extractions and for patients with special needs. Patients referred for this service are all assessed for suitability.
Recent service developments
A special dentist facility, in Antrim Area Hospital, has been designed to ensure improved accessibility for patients with mobility problems. The service offered in the Ballymena Health and Care Centre also allows for improved access for patients with mobility issues and it is hoped a similar service will soon be operational in the Causeway Hospital site.